I groaned again when my phone decided to play mom's ringtone which I'd set for her.
Mom and dad really needed to let up on me finding my future wife. I was only twenty-five so I had plenty of time. Just because my sister was already married and had a kid on the way, didn't mean that I was ready to follow in her steps.
I'd only just finished Uni and was nowhere near ready to settle down.
"Come on, Jasper, let's go for a hack," I said with a grin as I saddled up my horse and dismissed the staff.
I hadn't been home since Christmas, and with the spring coming, I was looking forward to discovering the land again.
I missed home, I truly had, but I didn't miss everything at home. I loved my family dearly, but God, they pissed me off sometimes. Or most of the time, if I was being honest with myself.
I rode for what seemed like hours, and by the time I was back on the family's land, I jumped off Jasper and just walked him down the lanes with me.
It had been a few months since I'd last rode him so hard, so I couldn't push him too much.
I grinned as I saw the first new leaves popping about all over the hedgerows and trees, and I couldn't wait until spring was fully here and the warmer months were with us.
"You okay, Sir? You look a little constipated," the voice of a girl made me spin on the spot, but I couldn't see anything until I looked up and saw the most beautiful girl.
In a tree.
"I'm fine, but should you be so high up?" I asked, not wanting to see her fall and get hurt.
"My mom use to say that I should have been born in a tree because I spend more time up them than on the ground." She laughed as she walked barefooted along the branch, and then did a strange twist move, hopping down before she was on the ground in front of me.
I must have stood a good foot in height above her, but I didn't care as I looked into the depth of her vivid blue eyes.
"Want one?" she asked, and I shook my head a little to see that she was offering Jasper a Polo mint from her hand.
"What's your name? I haven't seen you before, not that I would, I've just come to live with my aunt and haven't gotten out much," she said with a grin.
And then she was off, walking down the narrow lane toward the stream.
"My name's Garrett," I grinned as I followed her like a lost cause.
"Catherine, but please don't call me that, I bloody hate it. Call me Kate, or Katie." She grinned and rolled up her jeans.
"You're going in the stream?" I asked a little shocked. It was nearly spring, but still bloody cold.
"I know it's not the 'proper thing to do', but it's either this or walk back to the cottage where my aunt will rip me a new one for not being there when the seeds got bloody delivered." Katie giggled and I watched her carefully, even though Jasper was having a fit about me ignoring him while paying her more attention.
"So where do you live?" I asked, continued to be in daze with her.
"It's just a small cottage up the road, you can't miss it, it's the one with honeysuckle all over it." She smiled while washing her feet and ankles in the slow flowing water.
"I know the one, my family owns it." I smiled.
"You're shitting me? I'm standing in a fucking stream while I'm talking to a Lord? Fuck my life," she groaned, making me laugh hard.
"How about I take you out, and I can tell you about me not being a Lord just yet and needing to have a little fun first?" I hedged with a smile.
"Me, a tenant, on a date with a future Lord? Yeah, like that's going to work, I can see the headlines now. Brazen hussy leads dutiful son up the garden path." She groaned, but it didn't stop me.
I carefully tied Jasper's reins to the fence post and walked through the stream, socks, shoes and all, to get to her.
"If you give me a chance, I have a brilliant story that might just change your mind," I said gently as I took her hand in mine.
"Oh? And what's it about?" she asked, somewhat dazed.
"About an amazing, young farm girl who captured the heart of my great-grandfather. She was everything to that man, married him, gave him four children, including being a mother to his two children from his late wife. She was like you, even lived in your cottage, but rose above it all, dined with gentry, and became fast friends with the Queen. So yes, come on a date with me, let me show you how I don't care about anything but us. Allow me to prove to you that it doesn't matter where you come from in life, but where you end up that's important," I said softly, and without thinking, I leant forward and gently placed my lips on hers.
"Tell me more about her and your great-grandfather," she whispered breathlessly when I pulled away.
I took her hand in mine and led her up the bank of the stream toward Jasper.
"Isabella Cullen, my great-grandmother, was a force to be reckoned with, and my Great-grandfather found out just how much . . ."
Well, it's the end! *sniffs*
I thought about writing a huge author's note to pour my heart out, but all I can come up with is a simple 'Thank-you'.
Thank-you for loving this story so much. Thank-you for supporting me. Thank-you for putting up with my whiny Author's notes. Thank-you for putting up with my not posting on time. Thank-you for having faith in me and the characters. Thank-you for supporting me through my RL hell.
So yeah, Thank-you.
Texasbella? You there, babe? I have no words, but my heart is so full for you. You are everything to me and so much more.
Apart from any outtakes etc . . . I'm taking a long ass break from writing. For those in my group, you know why. I need to concentrate on RL and I can't do that while I'm thinking about writing and posting.
I will be back, I promise you that, but it might take me a while.
Thank-you once again.
Loves you all!